Spine Challenger North 2024 - Jon's story

Spine Race -

Spine Challenger North 2024 - Jon's story

Many thanks to everybody who supported and followed me as I took place and completed the Spine Challenger North, a 160 mile walk along the Northern section of the Pennine Way.

Videos mentioned in video – official spine videos featured in

1. Episode 3 – watch section of us near to end

2. Episode 4 – Start of video, piece to camera

3. Episode 6 – Jon walking through Cheviot Hills

I had 90 hours to complete this distance, climbing 17,355 feet over that distance Started at Hardraw, near to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales and finished at Kirk Yetholm, in the Scottish Borders.

So, what GPS devices did I use for the Spine event?

1. Navigate with – Garmin GPSMAP67
2. Record with Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar

Jon's Spine Challenger North walk

 Started at Hardraw on Monday 17th June @ 8.00 am

 x 3 CP where you see your drop bag -
CP1 – Low Fell Farm – 34 miles
CP2 – Alston – 71 miles
CP3 – Bellingham – 110 miles

Finish – 160 miles

First climb – Great Shunner Fell

Dropped down the Thwaite – lost Paul – 7 miles in

Hooked up with – Chleo and Gabby

And also walked with Jerry – GPS user – Garmin eTrex 32x

Tan Hill Inn – 17 miles

Just above Grassholme Reservoir we got buzzed by the Drone for the official spine video and we ended up on the last minute of the official Spine Video that evening.

Lovely summers evening

Hit CP1 (Low Fell Farm) – just after 20.00 – day 1 – 34 miles

Stopped for about an hour

Then on past Low Force and High Force – favourite section of Pennine Way – From Middleton on Tees as you follow the River Tees up

Nightfall shortly after leaving CP1 then Cauldron Snout – Scramble

High Cup Nick – No views at 3.00 in morning – 18 hours into walk – still no sleep

Then long drop to Dufton – 30 minute sleep (early hours of Tuesday morning) – 21 hours in

Here we lost – Jerry and picked up Emma

Climbed up Green fell, Great Dunn Fell

As we climbed up we got interviewed for the official Spine Race video

Climbed the mighty - Cross Fell – summited at 10.00 am, Greggs Hut then the long walk into Alston – Our second CP – 31 hours 29 minutes total – 15.30 in the afternoon

Lasagne at alston

Slept and left Alston early Evening – 19.00

Left on my own, but Gabby and Chleo set off 15 minutes behind me

They caught me up after a couple of hours, but this hard between Alston and Hadrian’s Wall is hardest to navigate, especially in the dark – lots of fields, hardest to navigate in the dark.

Reached Greenhead just before 6.00 am and slept at Walltown Quarry at around 7.00 am, again for Half an hour

Back on Hadrian’s Wall, hard walking

Winshield Crags – highest point on HW – 10.00 am

Hard push on to Bellingham and arrived around 17.00 – 18.00

Ate, showered, slept for 1 hour at Bellingham

And back on the trail at just before 9.00 pm, climb out of Bellingham – lovely sun set

Hard night, a couple of power naps on the trail and

Reached and slep in Byreness church @ 5.30 - 1 hours sleep – slept on floor infront a pew – cold

Found it hard to get going but climbed onto the Cheviot Hills – my home patch

Again met the film crew for the spine video and my third and final appearance on the official video!

Caught Gabby, Chleo and Emma again as they has stopped for a sleep.

Hut 1 – 75 ½ hours in – 7 hours between these x 2 huts

Hut 2 – 82 hours in (6.00 pm – 19 hours after leaving Bellingham) – top of College Valley – cup of coffee

Then the long x 7 miles to Kirk Yetholm and the finish

Mixed emotions

Soaking feet - all through the event

Shock, cold, just chronically fatigues – 26 hours after waking up in Bellingham

Finished 86 hours and 12 minutes – cut off 90 hours

Further reading

1. Jon's Spine Challenger South - previous year

2. Spine races - kit prep, what to take with you

3. Spine races - what is the best GPS unit

1 comment

  • Neil Astill

    Thanks for that review and many congratulations on successfully completing, particularly given the conditions underfoot. I walked the Pennine Way a couple of years back (over 16 days!) and loved it but know how hard it must have been in 86 hours. I recently completed the LDWA’s Speyside 100 mile challenge and have been wondering what to turn to next year – maybe this it?… I certainly recognise a lot of the challenges and emotions you went through!

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